Two Jacaranda on life-changing entrepreneurship scholarship to the US


By Duncan Mlanjira

Jacaranda Secondary School has sent two of its 2017 Malawi School’s Certificate of Education (MSCE) graduates to the USA for a semester Accelerator Program at Watson Institute in Boulder, Colorado where they are expected to develop social entrepreneurship skills.

Clement Kammwamba and Reuben Salima flew out to the US on Friday, January 17 on what has been described by Jacaranda as an incredible opportunity of high quality international education where they will learn skills that they will be using on their return to Malawi.

Farewell group photograph

The two said their dream is to develop youth environment centre at their base in Chigumula where their fellow youth will be learning skills in IT, entrepreneurship, art and more.

At Watson Institute, they are expected to also make connections with fellow international students and with world class leaders and entrepreneurs who will conduct master classes.

Both of them are also firmly determined to put to great use the impressive drawing and illustrating skills they have developed along the years at Jacaranda School.

Clement (left) and Reuben

Clement and Reuben have always been close buddies ever since they were enrolled at the institution when they were just six years old and both are focused to utilize this life-changing opportunity to the fullest.

After completing their MSCE, the two were engaged by Jacaranda management to do year of service commitment in which they were teaching art and dance and also doing secretarial tasks and hosting visitors — both local and foreign.

“Then we saw that most youths, after competing their MSCE, were just idle and the idea to develop the youth environment centre was mooted in order to mobilize and empower these idle youths,” Reuben said.

Deschamps: we are happy for them

“For us to fulfill the year of service, we started engaging the youths in our commitment and this also helped us win this scholarship when the offer to apply was made available for us.”

This is not their first time to travel abroad as in 2016 they attended the Otis College Summer of Art program in Los Angeles and in 2017, they also traveled to Shanghai, Beijing, New York City and Los Angeles. 

Marie Da Silva, founder of Jacaranda School said: “We are so proud of both of them. They started school at 6 years old at Jacaranda and they have made a huge difference to the institution because they became role models.

Da Silva and Deschamps chat with the boy’s

“I am looking forward to seeing them come back and give back to our country of Malawi,” Da Silva said.

Luc Deschamps, Jacaranda Foundation Executive Director, the two have earned the best chance to attend one of the best international programs on the planet.

“It is an award‐winning training in entrepreneurial skills such as fundraising, resilience, and grit”, he said. “We are thrilled to see our students reach this level and we are so excited about what they will be accomplishing in the future, for their fellow youth in Chigumula and beyond.”

He said the two deserve the scholarship because they have always been exemplary ever since and displayed excellent leadership qualities during their year of service at the institution.

“And they are playing their part as role models because this morning, during school assembly where they bid goodbye, they made the other students envy and am sure that has inspired them to aim higher.

“They are good at drawing they started doing at a younger age and they also are fashion designers. They are just multi-talented and complement each other.”

They are expected to interact with other youths from Indian, Brazil, African, Russia and Europe.

Trying to hold back tears of joy, both parents for the two applauded Jacaranda management, saying they pray that they shall come back to assist their relations as well as Chigumula community.

“We have really been blessed,” said Reuben’s grandmother, Evelyn Karim. “Our prayer is for them to pursue what they have gone there for in order to allow others benefit from it.”